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Maro Itoje ‘grateful’ for chance to train with Arsenal during pre-season | Rugby Union News

By August 15, 2019 No Comments
Maro Itoje 'grateful' for chance to train with Arsenal during pre-season | Rugby Union News

Watch Wales vs England live on Daily Week Sports Action from 1.15pm on Saturday

Last Updated: 15/08/19 4:55pm

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Maro Itoje says he hopes to return to Arsenal for training in the future

Maro Itoje says he hopes to return to Arsenal for training in the future

Maro Itoje says he was “grateful” for the chance to spend time at Arsenal’s training ground during the off-season ahead of the World Cup.

The Saracens man trained at the home of the Gunners in what he says was a bid to keep pre-season preparations interesting.

“It was very good,” Itoje told Daily Week Sports of his time with the Premier League club. “I’m an Arsenal fan so it was great that I had the opportunity to go there and train in my off-season.

“They were very kind to me in allowing me to use their facilities so I’m very grateful. They were very accommodating. Who knows, hopefully I will be there again one summer.

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“The [England] coaches and support staff are very good in terms of finding new things to stimulate us, challenging us in different ways.”

Itoje will start in the second row against Wales this Saturday after missing out on England’s 33-19 victory over the same opposition at Twickenham last week.

It was a match in which Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz and Jack Singleton made their debuts, with all three named in Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad less than 24 hours later. Itoje says the squad as a whole has benefitted from the fresh injection of ideas.

Lewis Ludlam impressed on debut for England last week

Lewis Ludlam impressed on debut for England last week

“All those guys, they’ve come into the squad and they’ve just shaken things up a little bit,” said the 24-year-old. “They’ve stirred the pot and it’s been good.

“They’ve added a lot of value on the pitch as well as off the pitch; it’s only healthy for where we’re trying to go.

“I was proud as one of their team-mates to see them go out there on Saturday and do so well. It’s really good for us, for the squad, and for them individually as well.”

The lock forward says he is relishing the chance to go up against England’s old rivals in Cardiff this weekend.

5:02 Highlights of England’s 33-19 win over Wales at Twickenham last weekend

Highlights of England’s 33-19 win over Wales at Twickenham last weekend

“In rugby, in all these games, there is an opportunity and there’s a test,” said Itoje.

“There is an opportunity because you can go out there and express yourself, but it’s also going to test you in a number of ways.

“Playing at the Principality Stadium, it’s a great place to play rugby and one which I’m very much looking forward to.”

Watch Wales vs England live on Daily Week Sports Action from 1.15pm on Saturday

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